Saxophone Forum


by InstantLunch
(30 posts)
10 years ago

Is my embouchure messed up?

After playing for more than an hour, my lower lip begins to ache from my teeth digging into it. The only part of my face that gets sore is my lower lip. Am I biting too hard? When ever I try to loosen it, it goes flat.

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  1. by John Coltrane
    (84 posts)

    10 years ago

    Re: Is my embouchure messed up?

    yeah i think you are biting to hard. im suprise you dont play really sharp? do u use a mouthpiece pad for your teeth to rest on the top? and relax your lower jaw is a key thing.

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    1. by martysax
      (148 posts)

      10 years ago

      Re: Is my embouchure messed up?

      You need to build up your lip! Have you been playing for very long? And how often? I used to be in a blues band that would work the heck out of me. After a 2-3 hour "extended set" my lower lip would get so bad that I was given the nickname "Bloody Reed!" After a few months, my mouth got adjusted to it, but I had to play around with softer set-ups for a little while during the transition. I never had this problem when back in "school days" I would play every day for hours in various ensembles. But, as an adult, I've noticed that everytime I play after a 2-week rest, the first night is a tough one. Practice long tones, work with a tuner, and practice(or gig) often. It'll build up for you.

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      1. by InstantLunch
        (30 posts)

        10 years ago

        Re: Is my embouchure messed up?

        I practice everyday, from half hour to an hour, and on mondays and thursday I have a three hour jazz band practice wich I play through a good long portion of. I'm a freshman and I started in 4th grade. It never hurt until about the end of 8th grade. Last night I looked at my lower teeth and they're really uneven. Could that be a problem??

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        1. by John Coltrane
          (84 posts)

          10 years ago

          Re: Is my embouchure messed up?

          hmm well anyones teeth can hurt your lip, i think your just digging them in a bit harder then others. relax your jaw for one and play long tones and dont over work your lip if its in the process of already being over played

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        2. by Spike
          (248 posts)

          10 years ago

          Re: Is my embouchure messed up?

          you're probably not at this point, but really your teeth shouldn't be putting pressure on your lower lip at all, it should be all facial muscles. Other than that, have you recently started a more intensive practice/playing regimine? When i got serrious, i actually developed a calus on my lower lip, and one on the tip of my tongue.

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      2. by reclininglion
        (5 posts)

        10 years ago

        Re: Is my embouchure messed up?

        If your embouchure is correct (and not under developed) there will never be any cut or mark on your lower lip. I am a profesional saxophonist and saxophone teacher. I play for hours and hours every day and never have a single cell missing from my lower lip. A proper saxophone embouchure has NO pressure from your lower teeth against the reed. The right places to get "sore" when you become fatigued is at the corners of the mouth. You should feel like your mouth is more open than what you feel now. And about the pitch going flat -- this will cause the pitch to go down and you will have to re-adjust your mouthpiece a bit. If it is going TOO flat (meaning mpc compensation won't correct it), you need to firm up those corners a little bit. For more info on the embouchure, check out Larry Teal's "The Art of Saxophone Playing." It's a great reference to have with an excellent chapter on the embouchure. good luck.

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